Sources have told Jeff Goodman of Eye on College Basketball that the Colonial Athletic Association will move its annual postseason tournament to Baltimore starting in 2014.
The move is not particularly surprising. The league was historically heavy on Virginia-based schools, so the Richmond Coliseum made sense as a central location. It was never, as league officials would disingenuously claim, a neutral location. When the final game featured VCU, Old Dominion or George Mason, final-day attendance soared. Especially if two of the league’s local powers squared off against one another for the auto-bid, as has happened five times since the turn of the millennium. Only twice in that same time period has a CAA title game been played without one of the league’s big three on the court.
With VCU gone to the A-10, and Old Dominion heading off to C-USA, the epicenter of the league has clearly shifted. The only member of the big three to stay put is George Mason (so far), so the notion of moving the league tourney into their territory would seem to be a logical decision.
In addition, the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metroplex is more populous, has more attractions and is, as Goodman points out, easier to get to for fans of every team. Fans of Boston’s Northeastern Huskies or Hofstra’s Pride had to take two flights to get to Richmond more often than not (and, unsurprisingly, didn’t do so in great numbers), but will find a direct flight to Baltimore easier and cheaper. Fans of JMU, Drexel, Delaware and W&M will not be particularly inconvenienced, and supporters of Mason and Towson will be able to take public transportation to the games now.
Dig UNC-Wilmington or incoming member Charleston? Well, you’re getting the short end of the stick. It’s a fair cop, society’s to blame.
Essentially, there’s not much point in getting attached to any particular team, building, city or iteration of reality as long as realignment rages unchecked. Richmond today, Baltimore tomorrow, Sheboygan the next? Stranger things have happened.